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Reichenberg
(Page 2 of 2)
Report No. 79
translation 
by Victor Diodon and Arnim Johannis.   zum deutschen Originalbericht
Massacre on Tuch Square, May 3, 1945
Reported by: T. M.

location of ReichenbergI lived in Reichenberg in the high-rise apartment building of the "Reunione adriatica sicurta". On May 13, 1945 I was in bed suffering from a high fever and angina. At 5:30 in the morning someone pounded on our door with rifle butts. Outside stood two young fellows in Africa uniforms, who drove all inhabitants of the house, including me, out of our homes without even giving us time to dress. My wife asked the two to please let me get dressed, to which they replied: "You German whore, you don't need to get dressed, you'll both be cold in an hour anyway." We had to walk down the nine stories of our building on foot. This was accompanied by a great commotion, yelling, shots, cries for help, and screams.

All the inhabitants of the house had to line up to the right and left of the house gateway in the Färbergasse, opposite the District Court. Almost all of us were only scantily clad.

Czechs ran up and down the Färbergasse, eyes and rifles pointed at the windows. A group of Czechs went up to the Health Insurance office, went in and came back out grinning. When they closed the door I saw them shove a corpse lying in the anteroom aside with their feet.

A man who was walking along the Färbergasse towards Tuch Square was stopped and forced at gunpoint to take off his shoes, socks and coat and to place them on the ground along with his full briefcase, and then he was chased away back in the direction whence he had come.

After some time all the inhabitants of the house in which I also lived had to march to Tuch Square. There were about 60 of us. The crowd of Czechs had grown larger. One who was particularly noticeable was a man with a wild shock of black hair who beat wildly into the crowd of Germans with his nagaika. This was the starting sign for maltreatment by the Revolutionary Guard. People, especially men, who got off the street cars or were just walking along were beaten, robbed, and many of them had to join our group. We were segregated according to sex, and I stood on the one side towards the Donauhof. The Revolutionary Guardsmen who maltreated us were mostly younger fellows about 18 to 22 years old. Suddenly the order was given that all men had to line up along the wall of the row of houses between Körber and the German Labor Bank. I had already seen a young man lying there dead, face down in a pool of blood. Then more RG men appeared with automatic weapons and ordered those standing along the wall to take off their shoes, to put them on the ground beside them and remain standing there barefoot. Meanwhile they worked us over with rifle butts, punches and kicks and even an alpenstock.

One boy about 16 years old was beaten beyond recognition. He remained on the ground as a convulsed, bloody lump. I myself had taken my shoes off immediately and was not maltreated. Then the RG demanded that we take off our shirts, and we had to stand facing the wall with arms raised. Behind every German standing there like that stood a young RG man who held his weapon aimed at the ready. All those lined up before me had vanished, I don't know where they got to. When the Czech Commandant and four higher-ranking officers arrived at my position, he was suddenly called away. When he returned he wanted to see my papers. I handed him my green ID with the large letter "P" (Pracujíci) and asked him quite insolently whether I should also fetch my other papers from my flat, which he permitted. The RG standing in front of me ordered me to dress. I picked up my shoes and finally reached the house entrance. We went up 10 stories by foot, which was very difficult for me in my feverish condition. In my flat I took the papers, and we went back down. The RG handed my papers to the Plukovník, who pronounced them in order. I was allowed to leave. My wife, who was fluent in Czech, had already returned home earlier. Shortly after that, the sound of four detonations came over from Tuch Square, and when I looked down I saw four dead bodies. Calm was soon restored, as one woman informed a Russian Commandant in the Hotel Imperial of the events and the executions were then stopped.

700 men from the RG were quartered in our high-rise for about six weeks. An RG man sat outside each apartment and accompanied every resident wherever he or she went, even to the toilet. Downstairs in the watchman's room sat guards, and whenever anyone left the house they would issue them a pass specifying a time by which they had to be back, and these times had to be strictly obeyed. All the apartments were looted. The cellars of the house served as RG prison.



 

Report No. 80

translation 
by Victor Diodon and Arnim Johannis.   zum deutschen Originalbericht
Expulsion of Reich Germans on May 30, 1945
Reported by: Heinrich Ackerhans and 8 other Germans from the Reich
Reports of July 11, 1950 and May 31, 1945 (Reichenberg)

location of ReichenbergLichtenberg, May 31, 1945
City Hall, the Mayor's Office

Appearing in City Hall:

1. Ackerhans Heinrich, born Sept. 16, 1886, Senior Government Construction Counsel with the Reich Government Representative in the Sudetengau in Reichenberg, resident in Reichenberg, Pestalozzi St. 9
2. his wife Anna, née Eidtmann, born March 21, 1891
3. Holberg Wilfried, born Nov. 23, 1930, resident as for 1.
4. Kohlmeyer Sophie, née Benkert, born July 15, 1902, resident in Reichenberg, Aloisienhöhe 7, wife of Karl Kohlmeyer, born June 8, 1901, Chief Inspector of the Reichenberg Office of Weights and Measures
5. their daughter Christa, born Dec. 21, 1928
6. Leonhardt Walter, born Jan. 26, 1893, senior civil servant with the Reich Government Representative in Reichenberg, resident at Joh.-Strauß St. 37
7. his wife Frida, née Walther, born June 13, 1897
8. his daughter Gerda, born Sept. 13, 1927
9. Spiegel Erich, born Nov. 14, 1895, gov't. inspector with the Reich Government Representative in Reichenberg, resident at Johann-Strauß St. 35

The persons listed under 1. through 9. state:

As per radio broadcast and newspaper announcement by the Ceský národní výbor in Reichenberg, all Germans from the Reich had to leave Reichenberg immediately. 10 kilos of hand luggage was all they were allowed to take with them. Consequently we had to leave Reichenberg on May 30, 1945, leaving behind our entire movable and immovable property, including stocks and shares, savings and bank books. We had to leave on foot, with only some hand luggage. The food stamps for Stamp Period 76 had not been handed out at that time, and we also did not receive them later. On May 31, 1945 at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, after having been looted repeatedly and robbed of our hand luggage and cash by members of the Czech Revolutionary Guard (RG), we arrived at the first Reich-German town, Lichtenberg, in the District of Zittau in Saxony.

The aforementioned Reich civil servants state further:

The permanent deputy of the Reich Government Representative, President Dr. Vogeler in Reichenberg, has informed the Division Heads that as a result of the offices having been transferred to the Ceský národní výbor v Liberci, employees of these offices have been relieved of their duties as Reich officials in the Sudetengau, and that the succeeding Czech authorities would not be taking them on as employees of the new system. A written confirmation of this decision was not issued despite requests to that effect.

Read, approved and signed:
[sgd.] Heinrich Ackerhans, signing also on behalf of his wife and the minor
Wilfried Holberg
[sgd.] Walter Leonhardt, also on behalf of his wife and daughter
[sgd.] Sophie Kohlmeyer and daughter
[sgd.] Erich Spiegel

As per the local conditions of which I am aware, these statements are factual and true.

Concluded: the Mayor, [sgd.] Adolf Trenkler


Report
about our expulsion from the Sudetenland in May 1945.

I, Heinrich Ackerhans, born on September 16, 1886, was first transferred to Karlsbad as official of the German Reich in 1939. When the office was closed I was transferred to the office of the Reich Government Representative in Reichenberg in 1940. My family therefore moved from Berlin to Reichenberg.

After the surrender and the end of the war, most Reich officials, employees and workers continued to do their duty until the end of May 1945 in the former Reich Government Representative's office, now known as Ceský národní výbor . Then they were forbidden to enter these premises again.

On Tuesday, May 29, 1945 the National Committee of the new Czech government announced via radio and newspaper notices that all Germans from the Reich who had been locally resident since 1938 were to leave Reichenberg immediately with a maximum of 30 kg of hand luggage (later reduced to 10 kg) and to assemble behind the train station by midnight to be transported. Many Reich Germans, including us, did not obey these instructions, but fled on our own instead. On Wednesday, May 30, 1945, around 4 o'clock p.m., we, that is my wife, myself and our 14-year-old nephew who was living with us, left Reichenberg with a hand cart filled with suitcases. We left together with two civil servants and their families (9 persons altogether). We had to leave all our property and possessions behind, with the exception of the minor values contained in the suitcases which were later looted anyway. Near the municipal woodland by the People's Gardens in Reichenberg, four members of the Czech Revolutionary Guard (wearing armbands marked with RG) attacked us. We were threatened with submachine guns and dog whips and were first body-searched and deprived of our valuables, then they rifled our suitcases and helped themselves to any valuable contents such as watches, silverware, linen, a pair of binoculars, tobacco, briefcase, the suitcases themselves etc. One civil servant was relieved of all his money. All this had to proceed very quickly, probably because the Czech looters were afraid of the Russian garrison. On Thursday, May 31, 1945, after traveling via Schönborn and Nenndorf, we reached Lichtenberg in the District of Zittau, the first Reich German town, where we instituted proceedings as outlined in the transcript enclosed.



 

Report No. 81

translation by Gerda Johannsen.   zum deutschen Originalbericht
Treatment of sick people
Reported by: Justine Pilz Report of October 15, 1946 (Reichenberg)

location of ReichenbergIn May 1945 I was working at the military hospital in Reichenberg. After the capitulation, the German wounded soldiers were turned out of doors and were maltreated in such a way that many of them lost their lives; I myself saw wounded men, with amputated legs or arms, in a terribly bruised condition. Civilian hospitals also turned out all Germans, irrespective of their physical state.

Doctor Posselt, who worked at the hospital, told me himself that one woman was put out of the hospital although she was actually in the process of giving birth to her child. A subsidiary hospital for Germans was established in a school, I myself was employed there as a nurse. All the Germans who had been mistreated and tortured in prison or in the camps were sent there. Among them were many who died of their injuries shortly after being admitted. There were also many who, after a short time, died of exhaustion or malnutrition. People had often to be discharged from the hospitals who were by no means fit to be released. After two or three days they were often sent in again almost at the point of death. We had 6 or 7 deaths every day. The bodies had to be placed in a shed, where they were often gnawed by rats. All my efforts to remedy the abuses and to improve the situation of the sick were fruitless.

There was no improvement until July 1946.



 

Report No. 82

translation 
by Victor Diodon and Arnim Johannis.   zum deutschen Originalbericht
Imprisoned one year for no reason
Reported by: Franz Fiedler Report of November 8, 1946 (Reichenberg)

location of ReichenbergI was the proprietor of two hotels in Reichenberg. On June 12, 1945 I was arrested for no reason whatsoever and detained in the District Court in Reichenberg. As late as October 10 no grounds for my arrest had been determined, as I myself was able to see by chance when I happened to catch a glimpse of my arrest record. On October 25 it was noted in this record that I had allegedly been rough to my employees and that a German apprentice boy with a Czech name had been punished in my business. Czech witnesses who had been called in my case testified in my defense. Nonetheless the People's Court did not release me until July 25, 1946, and I was dismissed without any documentation. During my detention I was repeatedly maltreated, like the other prisoners as well.



 

Report No. 83

translation 
by Victor Diodon and Arnim Johannis.   zum deutschen Originalbericht
Maltreatment of women
Reported by: Marianne Chytil Report of July 5, 1946 (Reichenberg)

location of ReichenbergI was arrested on May 31, 1945 in Langenbruck near Reichenberg and committed to the District Court prison in Reichenberg. On committal, the 20 men in our line were brutally maltreated, naked. Meanwhile I myself was guarded by two Revolutionary Guardsmen, and whenever I so much as shed a tear at the men's screams of pain they boxed me about the ears. Afterwards they tore the clothes off my body as well and threw me naked onto a writing desk, and then four others beat me with leather straps until I fainted. One guard had squeezed my throat so that I could not scream. When I regained consciousness I found myself in a cell together with another woman who had been terribly beaten up. She died three days later of the consequences of the maltreatment she had suffered. After about 7 weeks I was to be interrogated. In the anteroom of the examining magistrate the inmates awaiting interrogation were tormented and abused by the SBN in a variety of ways. I myself was given 50 blows with a cane, on my hands. 15 weeks later I was transferred to the internment camp of Reichenberg, and sent on into the Czech region for farm labor the very same day. The work I was expected to do there was very hard, and I got almost nothing to eat.



 

Report No. 84

translation by Gerda Johannsen.   zum deutschen Originalbericht
Treatment of Jews
Reported by: Dr. Rudolf Fernegg Report of June 21, 1951 (Reichenberg)

location of ReichenbergThe son of the liqueur destiller Soyka at Reichenberg, who was well-known to me and who had fought in the French army during the war, came to Reichenberg after the political change-over. He told me that he planned to get back his father's villa as well as the factory from the Czechs. First of all he was only allowed to use a room in the attic of his house, but was not allowed to enter the living-room, bed-room etc. Some weeks later he declared that the negotiations concerning house and factory had turned out to be so difficult that he would probably not go on with them. I am not informed as to the final result of his negotiations, since I myself had in the meantime been arrested and was later transferred [expelled].


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